The final touches are being applied to the site at Expo 2020 Dubai, with less than 50 days to go until the world fair opens its doors.
Nevertheless, there is still so much we do not know about the exhibits and pavilions. Much of this is deliberate, as participating countries are keen to keep their attractions under wraps to build anticipation.
Some details, however, are starting to slip out. The National found out 50 facts you may not yet know about Expo 2020 Dubai.
1. More than 100 robots manufactured in China will greet visitors, deliver food, help with directions and take photographs.
2. There will be two-hour Khaleeji-led “jam sessions” once a month, called Jalsat Nights @Expo.
3. More than 30,000 volunteers have signed up to help at Expo 2020 Dubai. Emiratis make up 61 per cent of all 18 to 24 year olds within the workforce. UAE residents of numerous nationalities make up the remainder.
4. The Korean pavilion will showcase the best of K-Pop, with several bands booked to perform, including Stray Kids, who have been appointed pavilion ambassadors.
5. Multi-sensory studio Bompas & Parr will host a theatrically decadent, multisensory experience at Expo 202 Dubai, entitled “Introducing The Future of Food: Epochal Banquet”. The two-hour culinary odyssey will take place in September.
6. Opti, a golden robot known as the guardian of the Opportunity Pavilion, is an Expo mascot.
7. India's four-storey structure and facade is made up of 600 individual blocks that are capable of kinetic movements, symbolising “India on the Move".
8. Expo 2020 Metro Station, with an aircraft wing design, was built to take passengers to the entrance of the World Fair. It is the final station on Dubai’s new Route 2020 and can hold 29,000 people per hour during peak hours.
9. The World Chess Championship will be hosted at Expo 2020 in November.
10. If you want to be treated like a VIP while visiting Expo 2020 Dubai, you can sign up for the Jubilee Experience, giving you access to a special lounge, valet parking and other perks. It costs Dh10,000.
11. Israel's pavilion is themed around a sand dune, with an open design so people can interact with the exhibits even if they do not enter the structure.
12. The Spanish pavilion will include a hyperloop vehicle made by Zeleros. The craft arrived in July.
13. Vaccination against Covid-19 is not mandatory for visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai, but it is recommended.
14. Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Arabic Language Day, World Poetry Day and Mother's Day will all be celebrated at Expo 2020 Dubai, with events held in a specially built amphitheatre.
15. Australia's pavilion mascots are called Wattle and Jali, who are a koala and a butterfly. Jali means tree in the Bundjalung indigenous language, and like a tree Jali is an old spirit that connects the above with the below.
16. Each country participating in Expo 2020 Dubai will be able to celebrate their national day — or an honour day — during the six-month event. The celebrations will be hosted in Al Wasl Plaza.
17. Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman has recruited a group of female musicians to join an all-women ensemble for Expo 2020 Dubai. The Firdaus Orchestra will perform several times during the world fair.
18. There will be daily fitness sessions held in the Expo 2020 Dubai park, from jogging to cycling tours.
19. Sweden's pavilion is called “The Forest”. The wooden structure is designed to reduce CO2 emissions and act as a carbon sink.
20. One of the highlights of the six-month Expo will be the celebration of the UAE Golden Jubilee, held over the course of a month, starting in early November.
21. Expo 2020 Dubai will have a Youth Pavilion built and managed entirely by young people, for young people. An open creative space, it is designed to be a centre-point for youth activities at the world fair.
22. The disc-shaped Sustainability Pavilion is entirely operated by solar energy. Each E-Tree has an average of 120 rotating solar panels and follows the sun from sunrise to sunset.
23. Expo 2020 Dubai is not just about entertainment! Business leaders will be encouraged to connect, and budding entrepreneurs will be nurtured under the Thrive Together programme, designed to leverage the connecting power of the world fair.
24. Everyone flying to Dubai with Emirates during Expo 2020, between October 1 and March 31, 2022, will receive a complimentary Expo 2020 Dubai day pass. Those who are in transit will also be able to avail themselves of the offer.
25. Every morning from October 1, thousands of students from schools in the UAE will host song and dance shows inside the massive Al Wasl dome.
26. The Australia pavilion is planning to host a cricket exhibition match.
27. British people living in the UAE should mark February 10 in their diary, as that is when UK National Day will be celebrated at Expo 2020 Dubai.
28. Fancy a snack? Head to Singapore's pavilion where chefs from some of the city's most famous restaurants and street stalls will serve traditional coffee and snacks, including tapioca, green bean fritters, traditional chicken and beef satay.
29. A shaded area in Expo 2020 Dubai called Ghaf Avenue is named after the traditional trees that grow in the UAE desert and provide a habitat for so many insects and mammals.
30. Celebrated singer Ragheb Alama and Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi are both booked to perform during Expo 2020 Dubai.
31. The exterior of Russia's colourful pavilion echoes the concept of the traditional matryoshka wooden stacking dolls, and the interior design is modelled on a similar concept, with a small entrance leading to a much wider space within.
32. Expo 2020 Dubai will run 10 theme weeks throughout the six-month extravaganza. The first will tackle climate and biodiversity, and the second space. Other themes include tolerance and inclusivity, travel and connectivity, and food, agriculture and livelihoods.
34. Morocco's pavilion is made entirely of rammed earth, using a traditional Moroccan construction technique to create 22 stacked rectangular sections. It was inspired by the Moroccan villages of the south.
35. The only hotel at Expo 2020 Dubai is now taking bookings — for Dh1,000 a night including entry tickets. The Rove Expo 2020 has commanding views of the dome of Al Wasl Plaza, one of the main attractions of the event.
36. The Expo 2020 Dubai site is bigger than 600 football fields.
37. Russian ballerinas and principal dancers from Moscow’s famous Bolshoi Theatre will perform during Expo 2020 Dubai.
38. The US pavilion will have an enormous model of the Space X Falcon 9 booster on display, plus Moon rock samples brought back by Apollo missions.
39. Singapore's pavilion is built on the smallest plot, but plans to make a big impact with hanging gardens, exotic flowers and edible plants. Its designers aim to show how nature can thrive in a limited space.
40. The Expo site will stay open later on Thursdays and Fridays, and visitors can enjoy music concerts and events starting as late as 10.30pm.
41. The attractions at the newly revealed Saudi pavilion break three Guinness World Records. The structure features the largest interactive floor, the longest water feature and the biggest screen.
42. Ireland was the first country to complete its Expo pavilion structure, which was inspired by the megalithic Newgrange light box, which dates back 5,000 years.
43. The Austrian pavilion is made up of 38 cones coated on the interior with a layer of clay and reeds to keep it cool for visitors during Expo 2020 Dubai.
44. Nearly a dozen contemporary artworks have been commissioned and installed around the Expo 2020 site, including a gigantic iridescent, oil drill-shaped sculpture by Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadir.
45. It took nine shipments for the three sets of 21-metre high gates designed by Asif Khan to reach Dubai. The portals were built in Bavaria, but are so large, they could only be transported along German motorways at night.
46. Football legend Lionel Messi helped publicise Expo 2020 Dubai, and starred in an advert where he kicked a ball through the hole at top of the dome of Al Wasl Plaza.
47. Switzerland's pavilion will include an installation called Swiss Fog Magnified, created with a thousand crystal glass droplets, varying in size, hanging from a mirrored ceiling.
48. Japan's pavilion will showcase “omotenashi”, or Japanese hospitality, and visitors will be welcomed by traditional Origami shapes. One exhibit includes a mysterious floating mist feature.
49. A robotic arm that will dig through the Martian soil will be on display at the Italian pavilion. The space drill is part of the ExoMars 2022 mission, which will be launched next year.
50. Entry to Expo 2020 Dubai is free for under 18s, anyone aged 60 and over, and people with disabilities. Students with a valid identity card from any academic institution in the world can also enter free of charge.